Tag: Writing

Consumption Versus Creation: The Ongoing Battle

Consume Less, Create More

A couple months ago I was asked to do an interview for the Why Is That Important podcast to discuss Therapeutic Creativity. I had great time talking with hosts Joe Wenger and Andrew Martin about how creativity can be used as a means of personal therapy whether that creativity take the form of music, art, or even cooking. Do me a favor and check out their podcast and my interview.

During that interview, I briefly strayed off topic a bit to discuss an idea that had recently occurred to me: That we creative types are in a constant struggle between creation and consumption. What do I mean by that? Simply this: On any given day, I can choose to spend my time consuming other people’s creations or I can create my own for other people to consume. No one is capable of being in a state of constant creativity and productivity but surely I can do better than I often do. I like to think of this struggle between consumption and creation as a spectrum.
consumption vs creation
It is a strange reality where I can know and make plans for all of the creative pursuits that I say I care about and want to succeed at, but then can waste an embarrassing amount of hours playing video games (That dang Steam summer sale!) and not making progress towards my goals. I recently listened to an interview with author Rachel Amphlett on the MyKitaab podcast about her self-published books. In the interview Rachel talks about using project management spreadsheets to keep her on track. I’ve exchanged a couple emails with her and she was kind enough to share her spreadsheet template with me. What I saw surprised me….It was very very simple. There was no magic formula hidden inside. It was just a simple spreadsheet where you list what you want to do and you put a check mark in the month you intend to have it completed by. The key to her success in writing has very little to do with those spreadsheets I now realize. Oh sure, they keep her organized but the truth is that Rachel Amphlett and other highly prolific creative types like her are able to accomplish all they do through what everyone knows as self-discipline.

Developing the Discipline for Self-Discipline

That’s right. You just need to actively choose to do the work necessary to reach your creative goals. No special software, no self-help books, no amount of inspirational podcasts can instill in you the will to do more today than you did yesterday. You have to WANT it enough to do the work. I realize that I am not saying anything new here. The concept of self-discipline is an old one. What I hope to grasp personally,  is to understand how people can develop good habits that lead to multiple books being written each year, multiple albums released,  a continuous stream of finished video productions, or whatever the creative medium is. How do you become that person?

I don’t have the answer to that for myself, much less anyone else. What I do know is that I am trying to walk a little further away from the consumption side of the spectrum and closer to the creation side. We all need time to relax. We all need time for leisure activities. The key is finding a good balance that leads to the achievement of goals while also leaving space for family and friends, and just letting your brain reset occasionally.

Society of Virtue Half-Off at Smashwords

Just wanted to give everyone a quick heads up that I am currently offering a coupon for 50% off of my book The Society of Virtue over at Smashwords.com. The coupon code is SSW50 and it’s valid until July 31st, 2012. So if you haven’t grabbed  a copy yet, now is the time to do it! I appreciate everyone’s support.

I’ve also been considering writing a follow up to the book since before I even published The Society of Virtue. I don’t want to do it just for the sake of putting out another book though and I want to make sure I have a really solid concept and vision of what the book will be before embarking on the journey of writing it. There are other books I’m working on however and as time and diligence permits, I will have those finished and published soon enough.

But all of that is beside the point. Go grab a copy of The Society of Virtue today for half off!

Buy it at Smashwords.com Remember to enter the coupon code SSW50 at checkout.

Official Society of Virtue website

The Society of Virtue: Thirteen Character Virtues That Can Change Your Life

society of virtue thirteen character virtues that can change your lifeAs I alluded to in my previous post, I have some exciting news that I would like to share. A few weeks ago I finished up work on my first book! Its entitled The Society of Virtue: Thirteen Character Virtues That Can Change Your Life. I worked on it over the past couple of years in between other projects but when 2012 began I knew that it was time to make The Society of Virtue a priority and finally get it finished.

The book is inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s list of thirteen character virtues that he had devised and had intended to create a secret society based on. Franklin never did get the chance to create his secret society but his ideas live on. The Society of Virtue is an original work that pays tribute to Franklin’s ideas and carries on the spirit of them with improved personal character through adherence to thirteen virtues.

The Society of Virtue is currently available from all of the major online book retailers and will soon be available in some of the smaller ones as well. Here are links to purchase the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Barnes & Noble

Buy it on iTunes
(currently only available in the iBooks app, not on their website)

Buy it on Diesel eBook Store

Buy it on Smashwords
(in a variety of eBook formats)

As a special bonus for people who buy The Society of Virtue I’ve included in the book a special password that will grant access to a members only area of The Society of Virtue website. Once there, readers can enjoy downloading a variety of special bonus content.

I hope that you will consider buying a copy of The Society of Virtue. Not simply because I want it to be successful from a sales point of view, but also because I believe there can be real benefit to in the lives of those who choose to follow through with the pursuit of the virtues.


Where Desire Meets Ambition

I’m just a few weeks late with my New Year post but I’m sure you’ll forgive that compared to the six months that have gone by since I posted anything new on here.

My last post way back in July mentioned that I was going to be moving and that move finally happened in late September. It’s amazing how long it can take to find a house and then you’ve essentially got another month’s worth of waiting while all of the other paperwork is taken care of. But we finally did move in September and the ensuing months have been kind of crazy with getting settled in and then leading into the holidays after that.

Life is getting back to normal though and that’s where today’s post finds me. I generally come up with some kind of theme for my life for every new year. Sometimes I post that theme publicly and sometimes not. Most times I don’t know what that theme means until something happens through the course of the year that makes it plain to see. 2012 is a little different though. I knew what my theme for the year was going to be back in November some time.

Unlike previous years, it’s not some vague nebulous concept that could be fulfilled in any number of ways. No, this year’s theme is direct and challenging to myself. This year’s theme is The Year of Accomplishment. What that means to me is finishing up writing projects that have been hanging around for awhile. It means recording a new music album for the first time in over five years.

I debated for awhile whether or not to publicly share this year’s theme for myself because it’s very goal oriented and relies on my working very hard to achieve those goals. But in the end I decided that not sharing it would make it easier on myself to not follow through. Of course, random life events or God’s intervention might completely derail these plans but I’ve found that most often in life if I don’t accomplish something it’s because I didn’t really put the effort into it that it needed.

As 2012 unfolds I hope to be able to share many completed creative projects with you. There’s at least one that I will be sharing on here in the next couple weeks. I was working hard to start the year off right by finishing up a writing project and that’s part of why this post didn’t happen sooner. Stay tuned.

I am a Musician and a Writer

I am a Musician and a Writer. It’s who I am.

I work in retail management. It’s what I do for a living but it is not who I am.

This is an important distinction that I need to keep clear in my mind at all times.

For the sake of the well being of my family I pursue career advancement whether at my current employer or at another company. This is only because my current employer doesn’t pay me very much. I have no choice, I must try and seek greater financial gain for the sake of the long term security of my family.

With that in mind, during the past couple years I have applied to countless job openings and only once have I even been called for an interview. I know that the job climate is tough but I didn’t know it was that tough to even get an interview. This makes me thankful that I am employed at all.

I came to a realization tonight though. That all of that wasted time and energy directed towards trying to get a better job has gotten me nothing. Meanwhile I put very little time in to my writing and music. I’m not a great writer but I’m a decent one and will writing ever make me money? I don’t know but a sure way to not make money writing is to not write. Likewise, I’m not a great musician, but I’m a decent one and will music ever make me money? I don’t know but not making music is a sure way to not make money at it.

I used to have a friend that felt that my focus with my creative pursuits had too much of an aim at making money with them. This friend didn’t have a family to take care of though. I don’t choose to focus on money with my creative work because I love money so much. I focus on the financial aspects of what I am doing because unless I treat my music and writing as a business that needs to be grown and nurtured, then it will whither and die and all that I will have left is half written books that no one will ever read and dozens of songs that no one will ever hear.

I will write. I will make music. I will not give in to the “do nothing and be happy” mentality that seems to permeate society. There is a fire in me that will not burn out. At times I’ve maybe had to shelter that fire from the storms of life to ensure that it continues to burn, but it has never gone out.